We’ve been asking ourselves lately if we could make our service more accessible and inclusive. What we did wasn’t the result of requests or suggestions from library users. Instead we wanted to have things in place that we did as standard so that we didn’t have to rely on people telling us if something was creating a barrier for them. We also want to try our best to show - through our actions - that our service is for everyone in the hope that this will make people feel more comfortable telling us if there is something else we can do to help them.

When we wrote our new marketing plan we included the following section on accessibility

Social Media:

• Make sure we add image descriptions on Twitter so the content is accessible to people with sight problems
• Use CamelCase in hashtags on Twitter (capitalise the first letter of each word) so the words are read out correctly by screen readers.
• Be conscientious when we use emojis on Twitter as text-to-speech software will read out a description for each emoji used.

For any future leaflets :

• Use sans serif fonts, such as Arial so letters can appear less crowded.
• Use font size 12-14
• Use 1.5 line spacing to improve readability
• Have leaflets and posters where dark coloured text is on a light background which is not white, for example cream or soft pastels.
• Review previous marketing materials

The above is not an exhaustive list and we are constantly looking at ways we can ensure our service is accessible, for example we are going to start adding a description to any tweets which include a GIF such as [GIF: a cup of coffee with steam rising from it] as there is currently no way to add alt text for GIFs. We are in the process of buying coloured overlays for people to borrow alongside our books and we have also made contact with Enable, our Trust’s network for staff with disabilities, and asked hem to provide feedback about the library service.

We are not just reviewing how we support people with disabilities. Along with our colleagues at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, we added Mx as a title option on our library management system. Again this is not something that has been requested, and the title section of our library registration form is not completed that often generally, but we wanted the option to be available as a small way of showing that our library is a welcoming space for all. We then also looked at ways we could support our Trust with the launch of the Rainbow Pledge and created a library leaflet that was specifically about how we could support staff with their learning in relation to LGBT+ issues and have had a presence at some of the training sessions. From making this connection we were then invited to be involved with the review of our Trans Equality Policy.

We are really keen to keep learning and developing in this area so if anyone has any best practice they would like to share with us please do!

Carly Miller
Joint Library Lead
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


Useful Links

Making your social media accessible 

Dyslexia-friendly style guide